Supervalu Laying Off 1,100 Workers

Having sold off its Albertsons, Jewel, Acme, and Shaws/Star Markets chains, as well as its SAV-ON and OSCO in-store pharmacy businesses to a Cerberus-led investor group earlier this month, slimmer grocer Supervalu (NYSE: SVU  ) finds itself less in need of a large back office than it once did. Accordingly, the company announced plans Tuesday to lay off approximately 1,100 employees at its corporate HQ and store support centers.

In a statement, Supervalue Chief Executive Officer Sam Duncan called the layoffs decision "difficult," but said it was necessary to begin "the rebuilding of our business" at its new smaller scale. As Duncan explained, a smaller Supervalu has "significantly fewer corporate and store support roles and functions" to fulfill, "making it important that the company restructure its operations and expenses accordingly."

Frontline store employees, Duncan clarified, will be largely unaffected by the announcement.

Supervalu noted that employees who are laid off "will be offered severance and outplacement services based on SUPERVALU’s eligibility guidelines." The company did not provide guidance on how much the downsizings might cost, or how they will affect short-term (or long-term) earnings. Shareholders, however, seem optimistic. Supervalu shares are up 1.6% in early trading, hovering around $5.13 per share.


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